Fort De Soto Park
Easily accessible by car from
downtown St. Petersburg, the
park preserves Fort De Soto.
Historic Vinoy Hotel
A dream in coral, the historic
Vinoy Hotel in St. Petersburg
is a famously haunted resort.
St. Petersburg, Florida - Historic Sites & Points of Interest - Historic Sites of St. Petersburg, Florida - Historic Sites of St. Petersburg, Florida
St. Petersburg, Florida
The beautiful city is a major resort area but also is
rich in history and historic sites.
History on Florida's Beach!
Incorporated in 1892 with fewer than 300
residents, the booming coastal city of St.
Petersburg, Florida occupies some of the
most historic land in South.

Despite the massive growth of the area and
St. Petersburg's popularity as a major Gulf
Coast resort, many of the city's significant
historic sites still survive. These include
ancient Indian mounds, the traditional site of
an incident that may have inspired the later
story of Pocahontas and a
historic fort that
preserves some of the rarest cannon in the

Long before the first Spanish explorers
reached Tampa Bay, the St. Petersburg
peninsula was the home of major Native
American civilizations. The
Weedon Island
culture, for example, is named for a site in St.
Petersburg. From its origin nearly 2,000
years ago to its final disappearance 1,000
years later, this civilization spread over
Florida and parts of Alabama and Georgia.

The Weedon Island people were followed by
Tocobaga, a Mississippian culture that
built mounds throughout the area. The
Tocobaga still lived in the region when the
Spanish explorer Panfilo de Narvaez landed
on the Pinellas Peninsula in 1528.

Pinellas Point Temple Mound is the
traditional site where a Tocobaga princess
saved the life of
Juan Ortiz, a sailor captured
from a supply expedition that followed on the
heels of Narvaez. Some scholars believe the
story of Ortiz and the Princes Hirrihigua was
the inspiration for the later story of John
Smith and Pocahontas.

Hernando de Soto sailed into the waters off
St. Petersburg in 1539 en route to a landing
somewhere in the Tampa Bay area and the
eventual discovery of the Mississippi River.

Other explorers and then Cuban fishermen
followed, as did pirates. The famed pirate
Gasparilla (Jose Gaspar) supposedly sailed
the waters off St. Petersburg, as did other
corsairs of the Gulf until the U.S. Navy finally
put an end to the pirates.
Egmont Key, just offshore, was the sailing
point for hundreds of Seminole Indians sent
west on the Trail of Tears and was later a
blockade station during the Civil War.
Fort De
Soto on Mullet Key stands as a reminder of
the area's role in the Spanish-American War.

After its incorporation in 1892, St. Petersburg
developed into a booming resort. The historic
Vinoy Hotel and other attractions stand as
reminders of its magnificent history. Learn
more about the St. Petersburg area below:
Pinellas Point Mound
Legend holds that a famous
"Pocahontas" story took place
at this St. Pete Indian Mound.
Sunshine Skyway Bridge
The Bob Graham Sunshine
Skyway Bridge has been
named one of the Top 10
Bridges in the World.
Photos by Lauren Pitone
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
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